Chinese mine bosses skip court

2011-01-05 07:27
Lusaka - A Zambian judge has issued arrest warrants for two Chinese coal mine managers after the defendants failed to appear in court on accusations of firing upon striking workers.

Xiao Li Shan, 48, and Wu Jiu Hua, 46, have been charged with 12 counts of attempted murder after firing on striking workers. Nearly a dozen miners were injured in the shooting on October 15. They were released on a $10 700 bail in October.

When bail was granted, there were public fears that the pair may return to China instead of facing trial as China invests billions of dollars in Zambia, and the two countries are said to be close allies.

The Chinese embassy in Lusaka refused to comment on Tuesday on why the coal mine managers had not shown up in court.

Magistrate Jacob Mbolela said he granted the arrest warrants on Tuesday after the two managers did not attend the preliminary hearing. He said arrest warrants have also been issued for two Chinese diplomats who signed their bail papers, acting as guarantors.

'Isolated incident'


In the aftermath of October's shooting, the Chinese embassy released a statement calling it "an isolated incident". It said that three Chinese nationals had also been shot and the incident led to "massive equipment damages to the mine property".

At the same time, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu in Beijing said that "Chinese managers mistakenly hurt several local workers".

Oliver Pelete, a Zambian provincial official, said the workers have since been paid the money that sparked the protest and that the company also agreed to replace the mine managers involved.

According to current government figures, China has invested nearly $3bn in Zambia and Chinese companies employ more than 10 000 people in mineral-rich country, where they are mining copper and coal.

But there is long-running controversy over China's role in the southern Africa country, where unions have long complained about pay and working conditions.

Some expect that Zambian President Rupiah Banda could face further backlash in the 2011 polls amid heightened tensions over the countries' relationship.

"We don't care what investment these people have brought in the country. They should learn to dialogue with workers and their union leaders," said Rayford Mbulu, president of the Chinese Mineworkers Union of Zambia.

'Above the law'

Opposition leader Michael Sata, who made China's presence in Zambia a campaign issue in the 2006 elections, condemned the October shooting.

"It is only in Zambia where a foreigner can shoot so many Zambians and get away with it. The implication is that these Chinese are above the law," he said.

But Obby Chibuluma, a local civil society leader, said the coal mine shooting was not reflective of Chinese employers in the country.

"They respect our labour laws. This is a case of a few bad eggs tarnishing the name of all Chinese," he said.

Chinese trade with Africa has soared by a factor of 10 since 2001, passing the $100bn mark last year.

- AP

Read more on:    zambia  |  mining  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Gordons Bay - 18:30 PM
    Road name: R44 Faure Marine Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED at Suikerbossie Drive due to roadworks until 5am - traffic diverted - expect delays
  • Wednesday Kuils River - 18:01 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2790.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The ingredients for today are communicating your original ideas in a creative and unique way that can make the right people look...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.